zaterdag 14 juni 2014

Arrests and large scale Israeli operations in West Bank after three settler teens went missing

Israeli soldiers patrol near the West Bank city of Hebron
Israeli soldiers patrolling near Hebron,. looking for the missing teenagers. (Reuters)

Three Israeli teenagers teenagers hitchhiking in the West Bank have been missing since Thursday night and are feared to have been kidnapped, security officials said. Two of the youths are 16 years old, and the third is 19. One of the teens reportedly holds U.S. citizenship.The teens, students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva in the settlement bloc of Gush Etzion between Bethlehem and Hebron, were thought to be hitchhiking to Modi'in, a city halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. When they did not arrive, the yeshiva informed the authorities. Israeli security forces are investigating whether an Israeli vehicle, that was stolen in Hebron and found burnt,is linked to the kidnapping. Palestinian firefighters were alerted about the burning car at 3 A.M. on Friday.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Saturday the working assumption was the three missing yeshiva students who are feared kidnapped are alive. Also on Satuday, the IDF was preparing for the possibility of an escalation in the West Bank, deploying over 2,000 soldiers to the Hebron area.A senior military official said special forces are combing through the southern West Bank and that progress has been made by intelligence units but would not elaborate.
The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday night that the PA would assist Israel in the search. 
A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security services earlier on Friday denounced Israel's efforts to blame the PA for the disappearance of three settlers. Spokesman Adnan Dmeiri said the PA was not responsible for the safety of settlers and had no way to prevent the possible kidnapping of the teenagers as the settlement from where they disappeared was under Israeli control. Dmeiri reacted to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu in which the responsbilibity for the well being of the three boys was laid a the doorstep of the PA.
Palestinian souces said that the Israeli forces detained several Palestinian men and women in Hebron in the southern West Bank as a search continued overnight and Saturday morning. Palestinian security sources and locals told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops deployed Saturday in Hebron neighborhoods and Israeli forces stormed several Hebron-area villages and towns. Soldiers also deployed in the main road near al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron.
Israeli forces flew a drone and a number of military surveillance blimps over Hebron while several checkpoints were erected on the ground. Israeli troops broke into the home of Palestinian journalist Yusri al-Jamal in the Abu Sneina neighborhood of Hebron. Al-Jamal told Ma’an that the soldiers broke open the main door of his apartment using explosives before they inspected the house strictly and detained his brother Yasser. He added that during the inspection, the soldiers cuffed him and his brother Khamis for about three hours. Al-Jamal highlighted that Israeli troops detained Alaa Abu Zeina and Shadi Abu Zeina after ransacking their homes. Furthermore, local sources said Israeli forces seized seven Palestinian men and two women in northern Hebron.
Stoning cars
Meanwhile Israeli settlers hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling on main roads across the northern and central West Bank overnight and on Saturday morning, injuring three people and damaging 15 cars. Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that three young Palestinian men sustained injuries after settlers attacked their car with rocks on the main road between the village of Jinsafut and Qalqiliya, west of Nablus.
The sources said that Abd al-Qadir Hussein Samman, Muhammad Abdullah Umran and Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, all in their twenties, were traveling in a private Skoda vehicle when a group of settlers attacked them with stones. The three were evacuated to Thabit Thabit Hospital in Tulkarem.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that more than 15 Palestinian vehicles sustained damages near the Israeli settlements of Yitzhar, Eli and Kfar Tappuah between Ramallah and Nablus.

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